It has been dubbed as the “simplest diet in the world,” and nutrition experts say the Scandi Sense Diet really deserves this title.
Suzy Wengel, a Danish dietitian and author of The Scandi Sense Diet, recently told Business Insider she lost 88 pounds in 10 months by following the diet. The diet involves using your hands to measure food portions and eating four handfuls (one protein, one carbohydrate and two vegetables). You can also have one spoon of fat per meal.
Another plus? You can still eat dessert or drink alcohol — as long as you cut out the carb portion of your meals during the day.
“There is no magic behind my method and tools — just a healthy and balanced view on diet and exercise,” Wengel told the site.
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Registered dietitian Anar Allidina tells Global News this would be considered a healthy diet.
“The Scandinavian sense diet is focused on whole foods and doesn’t eliminate any foods for anyone. It’s all about portion control using your own hands as a guide on how your meals should look,” she says.
She adds the diet is simple because it doesn’t involve counting calories or restricting yourself from certain food groups — of course, it is important to remember exercise is just as important as a balanced diet.
What a meal can look like
Wengel told Business Insider she also encourages others to use the #sensekos hashtag on Instagram when they make a meal.
The dietitian’s own meals can include anything from an egg, half an avocado, a handful of cherry tomatoes and bread with peanut butter and banana slices for breakfast, to beef salad with onions, tomatoes, cabbage and cheese for dinner. For men and children, she suggests pasta with this dish instead of cabbage.
Others on social media have shared their meals with the hashtag, coming up with a variety of four-handful options.
Registered dietitian Nicole Osinga says she wouldn’t even consider this a diet. “Diet usually implies restriction and I don’t recommend diets. I teach lifestyle changes that are realistic, effective and sustainable,” she tells Global News.
She adds eating in smaller portions means getting full with a well-rounded meal.
“It’s realistic and sustainable. It’s calorie counting without calorie counting. I often see people ‘fall off’ diets because they’re hard to keep maintain or calorie counting is too much.”
And like any dietary lifestyle, it’s important not get lost or obsessive over the details.
Allidina says while this is an easy template to follow, there is no mention for water intake, which is crucial for weight loss. She adds that during the first two weeks of the diet, it is recommended not to snack between meals — which could cause issues for some who have long gaps between meals. There also isn’t mention for people who tend to eat out a lot.
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“It may take more planning and organizing, since restaurant portions are always generous. However, if you do have many diet restrictions based on a health condition, you may need something more structured. If you have more ethnic foods, it will require a bit of figuring out which foods you will need to adjust,” she says.
Osinga adds portions can also change depending on the person’s body size. “A male who weighs over 200 lbs and has a large amount of lean body mass would likely need two handfuls of protein,” she says.
Make it fit you
But both experts (as well as Wengel) agree that if you want to start eating smaller portions, lose weight or make room for more vegetables, this is the route to follow.
“I really like that you can adjust a meal box, so you can plan ahead if you are going out to dinner so you don’t feel restricted. Cutting back on your carbs to allow for alcohol and treats is also an option, which she further explains in her book,” Allidina says, adding that making a change like this means slow and steady progress towards your goals.
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“This diet gives you flexibility when life happens. The idea is that if you had an indulgent meal, then adjust your next meal accordingly. You can take foods out of one meal box to add to another. This method of eating also works for those with diet restrictions, such as gluten-free, vegetarian, and low carb.”